Released: 2013, StormSpell Records
I don’t know how StormSpell does it but they keep coming up with these amazing covers. I’m old enough to remember doing ‘blind buys’ just based on cover art alone. Well, in fact I still do it and I picked up SLAVES OF EGYPT based on the cover because how could an album with such a killer cover possibly suck? Well, I’m glad my instincts proved me right because it is an excellent album.
Shadowkiller is a new band out of California and they have released their debut in the fall of 2013. It is a fine presentation with a glossy booklet with lyrics, which is useful because the album has a storyline about, you guessed it ancient Egypt. The album runs for over an hour and the band has some longer more adventurous songs stretching into the six to seven minute range. There are some progressive song-writing hints as well but mostly, the music itself it traditional Metal with a strong influence from the classic bands from the 80’s. Think about bands like Fates Warning, Shadowkiller have really nailed that prog/power blend very well.
Joe Liszt who is a busy singer these days, because he is also working with RockaRollas and a brand new act called Ancient Empire, handles the vocal duties. He is helped out as there are a few backing vocals to add a bit more depth. His tone is good, mostly in the midrange and he sings with conviction and energy. The guitar tone is good and the songs surge along at a strong pace, but not full out speed Metal. There is good lead work and good ideas going on like at the beginning of ‘On These Seas’.
As much as I enjoyed Shadowkiller, I must admit I have hundreds, literally hundreds of albums by bands in the classic USPM style from all across the world. It is a very competitive market. Technically, there is nothing wrong with SLAVES OF EGYPT, it pretty flawless record, but I’m not convinced it is going to have enormous staying power with me personally. It is certain worth buying and I’m glad that bands like this keep the metal flame alive.